Based in Tacoma, Washington (USA), Zeva began creating an all electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft concept design in 2017 for advanced air mobility (AAM). The company first designed and created a sub-scale prototype called Zero (Zero-emissions Electric Vertical Aircraft) with the ultimate goal to create a full sized production aircraft to provide alternative options to people for their daily commute. Zeva has enlisted engineers from around the world to help build their eVTOL aircraft. According to one August 2022 article, the company has raised around $700,000.00 USD to date. The company is actively looking for additional investors to raise $15 million USD to continue research, create flying prototypes, validate technology and sell their aircraft.
Zeva Aero is focused on three ideas: vertical, accessible and sustainable. The company's vision is that vertical flight will open general aviation to many more people. ZEVA Aero's aircraft are designed to be personal and affordable. The company has stated they are not building air taxis that will cost $10 million USD, their aircraft will cost less. Zeva Aero's aircraft will:
Be practical and extremely useful aircraft
Have superior range using hybrid-electric technology
Have dual operating modes (flown manually or by remote control)
Be able to takeoff and land vertically and conventionally
Use proven eVTOL technology
Zero passenger eVTOL prototype aircraft
The ZERO is a one passenger eVTOL aircraft that transitions from hover mode, to forward flight mode and cruises comfortably at 160 mph (258 km/h). The aircraft can be manually flown or flown by remote control. In the future, the company plans for the aircraft have an autonomous option. The range of the aircraft is 50 miles (80 km) and its maximum payload weight is 220 lb (100 kg).
The company says that ZERO blends the best features of a multicopter with a streamlined wing for improved range and efficiency. The aircraft's dimensions are 8.5 ft x 8.5 ft x 8.5 ft (2.59 m x 2.59 x 2.59 m) and fits in a parking space. The power source for the aircraft is batteries. The eVTOL aircraft has the look of a flying saucer.
Zero has been designed to be compact so that two can fit in a single car bay. As additional vehicles in a city with skyscrapers will be difficult to park or land, they have created the idea of adding a dock to the side of skyscrapers, called a SkyDock, to allow ease of landing and taking off in any city.
The company has flown a ⅙ subscale prototype and are pleased with its ability to fly on its test flights. Zero has eight engines powered by batteries. Zeva plans to use lasers to find an appropriate parking spot and can also warn pedestrians that it's landing. The target sales price is $140,000.00 USD.
SkyDock is ZEVA’s patent-pending configuration for docking the ZERO to the side of a building. This is an important feature says Zeva because as eVTOL vehicles and air-taxis might become widespread by 2025 and the horizontal surface area (tops of buildings) will be crowded, busy and/or over capacity. SkyDock will allow passengers to travel from a skyscraper to another skyscraper and land at any floor where the SkyDock is located.
The company foresees their aircraft used for personal air travel, first responder missions, search and rescue, police and air cargo. The company's goal is to sell 500 vehicles by 2025 and achieving a total revenue of $125 million (USD) dollars.
Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite and other material
Window: Canopy over cockpit
Landing gear: Retractable landing gear. The aircraft can dock vertically, to a side of a building.
Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers (or ducted fans) and motors on the aircraft so if one or more propellers (ducted fans) or motors fail, the other working propellers (or ducted fans) and motors can safely land the aircraft. There are also redundancies in the sub-systems of the aircraft.
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